Raul want to swap shirts with Ryan Giggs

Raul has admitted there was contact with Manchester United last summer over a possible move to Old Trafford.

The Champions League record goalscorer left Real Madrid at the end of last season and moved to Schalke but has revealed there was the possibility of a shock move to the Red Devils.

The revelation comes as the 33-year-old prepares to face United in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday night.

The striker has landed on his feet in German football, scoring frequently in the Bundesliga but hinted that life could have been very different if a move to England had materialised.

He said: "There were a couple of possibilities and United was one but the only person who knows just how close, is Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I never spoke to him personally but there were contacts with United.

"Before deciding to come to SchaIke I thought about England, where I had a couple of offers.

"I love the footballing culture there, the respect for the game, the atmosphere, the intensity.

"I've been at Old Trafford, Arsenal, at Liverpool watching Fernando Morientes and it's special.

"I fancied the idea. I wanted to try something different. But I've been able to experience that here."

The striker has been quick to praise a number of Manchester United players he hopes to pit his wits against at the Veltins-Arena.

Raul admitted he is full of admiration for Ryan Giggs, saying: "He's a great professional who looks after himself.

"Giggs and Paul Scholes are players for whom I have an enormous admiration.

"I would love to swap shirts with Ryan Giggs after the game. It would be a great honour.

"We dream of beating United. Let's see if we're the better team. Logic says United will be - but we'll try."